Sports has been regarded as an important enabler which has proven to be a unifier. This was highlighted by Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Parveen Kumar Bala at the first ever Pacific Regional Sports Forum which began today at the University of the South Pacific’s Australian Pacific Lecture Theatre.

“We Pacific Islanders have witnessed first-hand how it can bring people together and set our differences aside.” “A fine example is the Oceania Rugby Sevens championship, which is an enabler for many of our people.

“It’s clear that the three days we’ve set aside for this important forum will not only benefit our cause here in Fiji; it will provide a conducive environment for all our sportspeople while uplifting the standard of sports in the Pacific.”

Minister Bala added that this forum is all about generating new ideas and discussions that will spark introspection about how we can strengthen sports in our respective countries, and in the Pacific as a whole. “Capacity building is one of the key areas in the development of a policy.”

“We can all agree on the invaluable contribution of sports in our societies, cultures, and economies, so let us all continue to strongly advocate for the continuance of investments in our greatest resource: our people.”

Minister Bala said government acknowledges and supports the forum, and during the next three days, they look forward to seeing an interactive policy dialogue on key policy areas including physical activity and health, physical education, high performance, integrity, climate action, human rights, gender, disability and youth.

“Through my Ministry, the Fijian Government promotes values and social cohesion through national sports development.” “There is a realisation now that sport is a career pathway, and we would like to see and develop elite athletes into their sport of choice.”

The event was also attended by the Vanuatu’s Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Jean Pierre Nirua and Palau’s Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Baklai Temengil.